Amid heat wave, Fairfax Co. digs into snow response plans

WASHINGTON — As the region remembers the blizzard that immobilized the area six months ago this week, Fairfax County is working on changes to improve the county’s response and help residents cope when winter weather hits again.

The county Park Authority, for example, is launching a drop-in center pilot program beginning in November.

“The program would be for 6- to 10-year-olds and it would be operating on days when Fairfax County Public Schools are closed, but county government is open,” said Neil Freshman of Fairfax County’s Department of Transportation. “Registration for this could be in advance or on site.”

Freshman briefed the county’s board of supervisors Transportation Committee members on Wednesday on various issues related to snow — such as orphan roads that snow plows might miss.

“One of the things we’re working on now is reconciling the county and the VDOT road maps,” said Freshman. “Are there roadways that are not private, but are on neither set of maps? We’re looking through that now.”

The county also has asked the Virginia Department of Transportation to estimate how much it would cost for the state to haul away snow from areas where there isn’t enough room to create piles of it.

Winter Storm Jonas dumped between 2 feet and 2.5 feet of snow on the county. Many sidewalks were not cleared, pedestrians took to roadways and commuters waited in the street for buses.

Out of 500 Connector Bus shelters, only about 150 with sponsored advertisements were cleared of snow by contractors, Freshman said.

“We are determining whether there are alternatives for clearing snow from additional (bus) shelters, he said.

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